"The Bible is Theology"


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Bible as History with a Digital Imagination

The Bible was written as a theological document, it is about God and not about humankind.  Yet, many people treat the Bible as if it is a historical document, they treat it as a story about humankind rather than a story about God.
The problem with this approach is that most of the Bible is metaphor, simile, hyperbole, and morality plays. When we try to force the Bible into a historical mold we are going to misinterpret it.
As theology, the Bible instructs us about God.
Theology comes from the Greek words: Theos meaning God and Logos meaning word.  Theology is literally God Word or God's Word.  The Bible is about God's revelation of himself to humankind.
History can be thought of as a contraction of his story, the story of humankind, not God's story.
Treating the Bible as history is, in effect, a denial of God.  You are turning the Bible into just another human history, something that would not be special.
The Bible is certainly filled with historical information, have no doubt of that.  That information, though, must be mined, it must be teased out of the text by careful analysis and study. It, for the most part, does not lie on the surface.
The Bible is special revelation, the universe, however, is general revelation.  The universe also reveals information about God, there too we must often tease it out, mine the data in modern parlance.
The apostle Paul said it succinctly:
(Romans 1:19–23 NRSV) “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;  for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools;  and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.”
What then do we do when science, the study of the universe—general revelation—does not jibe with what is in the Bible?
Well, we might be misunderstanding what we see in the universe.  We might also be misunderstanding what we read in the Bible.  We could even be doing both.  However, it is far more likely that we are misreading the Bible  We should look to see if there is a reading that is compatible with our scientific understanding.
Creationists are misreading Genesis 1:1-3:24, believing this to be a historically accurate description of creation. It actually can't be. Genesis 1:1-2:4 tells one tale of creation, with humankind being created last and both male and female at the same time.  Genesis 2:5-3:24 tells a very different tale of creation with Adam (a transliteration of the Hebrew word for man or mankind) being created first, then plants and animals, and finally woman (meaning from man).
The cannot both be literally true.  In fact, general revelation shows that both are metaphors for creation.  The only important thing here is that God created the universe. Leave it to science to figure out how God did it.
Be careful when you read the Bible, if it seems impossible, such as knowing about God's conversation with Satan (from a Hebrew word meaning adversary), take it with a grain of theological understanding.  Focus on the theology and not the history.
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